Our community supports it. Former opponents now support it. Insite is proving it works.
You have all read about international surveys ranking Vancouver as one of the best places in the world to live, work and visit.
But for every one of those, you will also read about the social challenges of homelessness, drug addiction and mental health facing our city.
Recently, these issues have been raised in the context of the debate around Vancouver's supervised injection site (Insite) - the only one in North America.
Some opponents have described Insite as a big party with free drugs. As Mayor, I see it more like a palliative care facility.
Despite apparent reservations about the future of Insite, Prime Minister Harper and his government deserve credit for significant federal investments in drug treatment, prevention and mental health. Over $30 million will be allocated to Vancouver priorities thanks to these recent announcements.
These initiatives - combined with the BC government's leadership on social housing - have led to a renewed sense of hope that collaboration between all levels of government is a reality and a critical part of the solution for Vancouver.
We are working hard to ensure new supportive housing investments meet local demand - recognizing that we have more than 3,000 units of social housing on the way for the 1,500 Canadians homeless on Vancouver streets.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada is recognizing the social challenges of the Downtown Eastside as a national issue and charting a new course to help people suffering with the concurrent disorders of mental illness & drug addiction.
Among other things we are promoting prevention, street outreach teams, innovative treatment options and community partnerships to help women get out of prostitution.
In the fall, long term treatment beds will start to reopen at the Riverview mental health facility in Metro Vancouver. Canada's first Community Court will open this summer in the Downtown Eastside.
And at the end of next month - Canada's operating permit for Insite expires.
The renewal of Insite is an opportunity for the federal government to demonstrate its commitment to compassion and listening to the "grassroots".
The longer Insite remains open, the more our community supports it. In fact, some who were opposed to the site are now for it.
Failure to seize this opportunity will lead to more overdose deaths and infectious disease. A negative decision also has the potential to erode much of the goodwill generated by the recent actions I have described.
As Mayor of Vancouver, I have made it clear that I fully support the continuation of Insite - as much as I endorse the recent federal commitment to address concurrent disorders in Vancouver.
The bottom line is that Insite is part of the solution in Vancouver - not part of the problem.
By working together and responding to local priorities we can deliver hope, collaboration and a civil city from the bottom up - not the top down.
We can show the world in 2010 how a civil society can care for some of its most vulnerable and marginalized peoples. It is a challenge I know Canada can live up to.
We won't have a second chance.